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Critically acclaimed author Sherman Alexie turned out to also be a first-rate stand-up comedian, the funniest I've heard in Victoria since 2008.

I had no idea I'd be laughing out loud throughout Alexie's Victoria College Lyceum series talk Tuesday evening at the Welder Center. I was a huge fan of Alexie's movie "Smoke Signals" when it came out in 1998, and Paula had just read "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian" for her master's class on young adult literature.

During the question-and-answer portion of Alexie's talk, Paula asked about the censorship of the author's books. He gave a rambling, thoughtful response, finishing by looking at her and saying, "You're quite beautiful."

He then looked at me sitting beside her and added a compliment for my appearance. He went on to say that good-looking couples upset him because they're so selfish. They should spread around the wealth, he joked.

Finally, he said he wasn't suggesting we needed to be in an open relationship, but we could both flirt with him later.

Afterwards, friends ribbed us about the attention and said Alexie must have included me in his compliments for the sake of the joke. I readily agreed with that assessment.

Another funny bit Alexie came up with centered on his reaction to the DeTar Hospital billboard about the wait time for its emergency room. He described this as the strangest cultural sight he had experienced in his travels.

He wondered why a small town was concerned about the waiting time at its emergency room and whether first responders on the scene of a car crash checked the billboard first before transporting a patient. He said he could understand such a billboard in New York City, where the wait time might read three years, but he couldn't figure out what was happening in Victoria.

The crowd roared while I looked over at DeTar CEO Bill Blanchard, who was in the audience. For the record, Blanchard also was laughing.

I don't know what it is with comedians and DeTar. When Anita Renfroe performed in 2008 at the same Welder Center, she also improvised a joke about the medical center. She wanted to know the origin of the hospital's name.

"DeTar?" she asked. "Isn't that what you do to your car after you've driven on a newly paved road?"